By: Stephen Sedgwick-Williams

Brian Nelson, first-year computer programming student, admires concept art from Silent Hill 3.

When it comes to art, the classic mediums tend to come to mind: literature, paintings, photographs, music and movies. But perhaps there’s a new comer to the art scene; video games.

“If you think of art as being a form of creative expression, there’s no question that games are art,” said Jodi Tilley, one of the coordinators for the game development program.

Video games have similar aspects to every other form of art: they have detailed scripts, vibrant visuals, orchestral music, all brought together through computer programming. Games offer something no other art form has yet; they leave their players with an interactive experience that puts them straight in the middle of a new world.

When considering video games as an art form, they have a lot in common with film. Both are relatively new to the art world and both provide an engaging experience, which brings an experience to the viewer, with a few differences.

“A lot of aspects of a game are like a film; you think of a musical score that’s created for them,” said Tilley. “There’s an immersive story in there, there’s a huge amount of work on audio and sound design and musical score, huge amount of time on the story, huge amount of time on art. It’s very comparable to film if you think of film as an art form. The only difference is you’re able to interact with that art form.”

Brian Nelson, a first year programming student and co-founder of the Algonquin Gamers Society, agrees that video games combine a number of mediums into the finished experience. They combine visual art, which  includes every character, level and surface, all designed by graphic designers, audio, which needs to be developed specifically for the game whether its a sound effect or a piece of music, a story and the gameplay itself, which is imperative to the game.

“All these have to be lumped together as an art form in video games.” Said Nelson.

Games, however, differ from films in that through a video game, the player’s experience of the story might be changed by how far you it’s followed. As part of what drives the story and experience in a game is how far the player pursues the creator’s message and storyline.

“If you follow the storyline through to completion then typically you might get the story arc, and all the different antagonists and protagonists and what their stories are,” said Dushan Horvat, a program coordinator for the game development program.

Just like how there are different genres in any other art form, video games are split into different kinds, each of which have their own focuses that they pursue.

“It totally depends on the game,” said Horvat, “so if it’s a Call of Duty game, it’s more about the action and the reflex and the excitement, and a game that’s a platformer game might be more like a moving painting, depending on the art.”